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Obama announces $120M climate plan

The Obama administration announced a major investment in solar power research and programs on Wednesday.

The Obama administration announced a major investment in solar power research and programs on Wednesday.

The $120 million plan coincides with the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit, which began on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California. Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the summit on Wednesday.

The summit aims to reinforce the commitment of the two world powers to the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change last November and promote its goals at the state and local levels.

Under the joint announcement, the U.S. set a target to cut carbon pollution by 26%-28% below the 2005 levels by 2025, and China set its target to peak its CO2 emission by or before 2030 and increase its use of non-fossil fuel energy to around 20%.

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The new solar energy plan helps the U.S. achieve its part of the agreement by increasing the use of clean energy in 15 states across the country. The plan includes a number of executive actions, including making solar energy more accessible to rural areas, simplifying installations for homes and businesses and improving the efficiency of existing solar panels.

Leaders at the summit are expected to announce other new initiatives including a collaboration between policy makers from 10 cities in California and 10 cities in China to work together in climate action planning and implementation.

The announcement of the construction of a version of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory FlexLab, the most “advanced building efficiency simulator in the world,” in China is also expected to be announced at the summit.

In addition to discussing new programs, the summit serves as an update to the success of the joint announcement so far. According to a White House Fact Sheet, China’s “Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities,” which includes 11 Chinese cities, has set peak years before 2030.

“Notably, Beijing and Guangzhou have committed to peak their carbon dioxide emissions by the end of or around 2020,” the fact sheet reads.

In the U.S., California and Seattle are two cities leading the way in carbon dioxide emissions. California plans to reduce emissions by 80%-90% below 1990 levels by 2050. By the same year, Seattle aims to be carbon-neutral, or having no net release of carbon dioxide.